Every Year, millions of farmworkers travel many miles away from their homes to produce the crops that feed the American Population. Migrant farmworkers are predominately Mexican citizens who leave their lives and families behind in hopes of living out their dreams and making a better life for themselves and families. However, many of these farmworkers are left in a never-ending circle that keeps them from reaching their dreams due to the obstacles that they face once they are in this country.
The United States department of Labor has set aside some guidelines in the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) to protect these workers in wages, housing, transportation and record keeping. However, these protections do not extend to all farmworkers in this country. Many farmworkers are exposed to abusive labor practices by their employers. These workers are being subjected to wage theft, hazardous working conditions, and substandard living conditions. Despite the having protections set in place, there is still difficulty in addressing these issues. With 77% of farmworkers were born in foreign countries and half of that number still remain undocumented, it is hard to convince them to come forward to complain about these abuses.
While some efforts have been made to protect the rights of migrant farmworkers, there is still plenty of work to be done. Littles steps are being made such as updating and improving the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS). This will at least hopefully ensure farmworkers safer work environments and pesticide regulation. This Sunday, 12/18, is International Migrants Day, an innitiative started by the United Nations in effort to bring awareness to nature of migrants lives. Often times people will leav their homeland out of neccesity, due to dangerous or unliveable circumstances. This is something that every host nation to migrants needs to keep in mind. Migrants are looking for opportunities or rights that they couldn’t recieve elsewhere, their life is typically not easy, which is why even more so the U.S. government and everyone else needs to at least offer solace to those propelled into a choice they may not have made otherwise by ensuring they have their human and civil rights. As we go into 2017, we need to keep these migrant workers in our minds as we work on our goals for the year.